Mariners win seventh straight behind Walker's three-hitter
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[September 14, 2016]
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Behind
Taijuan Walker's first career shutout and three Seattle homers the
Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-0 for their season-high
seventh straight win on Tuesday.
Walker (6-10) was sensational, allowing just three hits and striking
out 11 batters to match a career high in winning his second straight
The Angels' first hit came when Kole Calhoun found a hole on the
right side, through the Mariners' shift, for a clean single to lead
off the seventh. The Angels' first base runner came in the sixth
when Kaleb Cowart reached on Ketel Marte's two-out throwing error.
Despite prevailing for the eighth time in nine games, the Mariners
couldn't gain ground on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL wild-card
race, remaining 2 1/2 games behind.
Seattle flexed its muscles, with Nelson Cruz notching three hits and
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith hitting home runs. Smith's was the
biggest blow, a grand slam in the sixth inning that turned the game
into a rout.
Many thought Walker's path this year would lead to being Seattle's
No. 2 starter behind ace Felix Hernandez. But Walker struggled with
command issues and was hurt. He reached rock bottom when last facing
the Angels on Sept. 3; he was charged with six runs (five earned) in
recording but two outs when losing his fourth consecutive start.
But Walker was far from that struggling pitcher on Tuesday as he
toyed with the Angels.
Alex Meyer (0-3), who was making his second start for the Angels,
didn't fare nearly as well. He was gone after four innings after
surrendering four runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out
Walker, utilizing a fastball in the upper-90s, was dominant in the
game's early stages as he retired the first 15 batters and had a
stretch of five straight strikeouts.
The right-hander recorded seven strikeouts through five innings; he
fanned Mike Trout twice, illustrating Walker's effectiveness. Coming
into the game, Trout was hitting .818 (nine of 11) with two home
runs against Walker.
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Mariners pitcher starting Taijuan Walker (44) pitches during the
first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of
Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Mariners struck quickly with two first-inning runs.
Aoki opened with a sharp single and scored on Cruz's two-run homer,
his team-high 36th homer of the season. Cruz crushed Meyer's 93 mph
fastball deep into the left-field seats.
Seattle extended its lead to 4-0 in the second as the long ball bit
Meyer once again. This time Aoki, with his second hit, did the
honors with a solo blast. Prior to Aoki's third homer on the year,
Marte had a run-scoring fly ball to bring in Leonys Martin, who
reached on a single.
Meyer got through the third inning without allowing a run for his
first scoreless frame in the game. But it required a two-out leaping
catch by Trout in center as he robbed Mike Zunino of an extra-base
hit with Cruz aboard on a walk.
NOTES: Seattle 1B Daniel Vogelbach got his first start in the
majors. ... Mariners 1B Adam Lind (sprained finger) is hoping to be
available for the weekend series against the Houston Astros. ... LHP
Wade LeBlanc, who started eight games before ending the season in
Triple-A, was traded from Seattle to the Pittsburgh Pirates. ...
Angels SS Andrelton Simmons (bruised thumb) remains out after tests
revealed no serious damage. ... C Geovany Soto (sore knee) was close
to being activated, but he sprained his ankle on Monday.
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